Shelving support for the Indigenous Literacy Foundation


Young book-worms are lending a helping hand at this week’s biennial Story Arts Festival in Ipswich by swapping their old books to help the Indigenous Literacy Foundation meet its million-dollar mark.

The mammoth book shelf will be placed out the front of the Ipswich Library this week. Photo: Hannah Sbeghen, 6th September, 2015.
The mammoth book shelf will be placed out the front of the Ipswich Library this week. Source: Hannah Sbeghen

A giant bookcase will be placed outside the front of the Ipswich Library from the 6th to the 16th September to encourage children to put an old book on the shelf and pick up another, with gold coin donations going to support literacy in remote communities.

The Indigenous Literacy Foundation originally founded in Brisbane was set up by Riverbend books owner, Suzy Wilson who aimed to address literacy levels in remote Indigenous communities.

The foundation has now reached over 200 remote communities and Ms Wilson says libraries and teachers have been enormously helpful in helping raise $1 million for the foundation.

“I first began the project in 2004 and worked on it for two years before Quentin Bryce called me up and pushed me to take it to publishers,” ILF founder, Ms Wilson said.

“After 11 years we can see a big progress in remote communities and although it’s a tough one to measure with these kids not having English as their first language and parents who are largely illiterate, we try to branch out with awareness and close the gap.” she said.

Long-time ambassador for the Indigenous literacy Foundation and award-winning author Andy Griffiths will be in Ipswich signing books during the festival.

Ipswich District Librarian Network coordinator, Jenny Stubbs hopes the much loved author will bring in crowds of more than 400 people

“I’ve wanted to help out the Indigenous Literacy Foundation for a number of years and since Andy is hugely popular in Queensland it was just the right time to get the book-swap up and running,” IDLN coordinator, Ms Stubbs said.

“This is the first time a book swap has ever been done and the Ipswich Library is going to help get it started by stocking it with books which were eventually going to be culled,

The colossal bookcase, which was built by Book Links Treasurer Andrew King said it’s set to be reused in local schools and libraries.

“The travelling bookcase is not a new idea but it is an effective way to promote sharing stories with all proceedings going to a good cause,” Mr King said.

“We hope to see the idea of swapping books in such a mobile way can be copied in other cities,”.

“This is the first prototype Book Links has put together and won’t be the final version, we‘d like to take it further in the future and get apprentices to help out  with building.” Mr King said.

School students will visit the festival during the week with adults welcomed to enjoy the festivities later in the afternoon.

The travelling book-case painted by local teacher Suanne Kelly will be on display outside the Ipswich Library from the 6th to 16th September.